“Immersive exhibitions are designed to simplify access to artists such as Monet, van Gogh, and Klimt and their works via room-filling, large digital screens, sound installations, and virtual reality. What is currently THE trend in art is also making its way into e-commerce, as a study by Zendesk proves. Immersion is playing an increasingly important role, especially in customer service. So it’s time to get to grips with it.
The term “immersive” describes, as digital expert and OPS 2023 keynote speaker Jörg Schieb explains, a “type of experience or technology […] that immerses the user completely in a virtual world. In general, this means that the user has the feeling of being physically present in the virtual world and actively participating in the experience.”
So basically, it’s about a merging of the physical and virtual worlds and a seamless, cross-channel experience – enabled by virtual reality, augmented reality, interactive installations or even artificial intelligence. Trends like these – as we have all witnessed in action, not least since the release of ChatGPT – are changing the way we work, consume and interact. That this would also have an impact on marketing and business models in e-commerce was only a matter of time.
A seamless interaction with customers
Driven by the ever-expanding artificial intelligence applications, in recent months there has been increasing talk of the “immersive customer experience” (“immersive CX”), which combines immersion and customer service to enable a natural, seamless interaction of customers with their service providers and companies. The advantage of this is that the customer doesn’t feel like a random transaction number, but instead has the feeling of “really being seen and heard,” as Zendesk describes it.
The Californian software company provides an interesting study that compiles and compares the results of various studies. The survey included 3,700 consumers worldwide and almost 4,800 employees from companies. Benchmark product usage data from Zendesk itself was also included in the analysis. The resulting report, “CX Trends 2023,” identifies five general trends that are accelerating the development of immersive customer experiences:
- AI experiences become more sophisticated and seamless: Chatbots and messengers existed before ChatGPT. However, new AI-based technologies have given these and other analytics and self-service tools a huge boost. Chatbots in particular are now expected to respond more and more like real service employees. In addition, more and more companies are realizing the potential of using AI-driven tools.
- New opportunities for consumers through “Conversational Experiences”: We have already reported on dialog-driven commerce – Conversational Commerce – on beyond-print.de. Zendesk’s trend report here emphasizes yet another aspect of it. Namely, that the interaction between customer and service provider is fluid across different channels and does not have to be limited to a single communication tool.
- Personalization is in demand: According to the CX Trends Report, more than half of the respondents would like companies to use existing data to personalize the customer experience and customer service more strongly.
- Consumer sentiment changes the customer experience: Mistakes cannot always be prevented, but the customer contact that arises as a result can strengthen the relationship between customer and service provider in spite of everything – or reinforce the negative experience and cause lasting damage to the company. So the better the interaction with the customer, the more positively he or she rates the customer experience overall. According to the report, the expected service also plays an important role in the purchase decision for six out of ten customers surveyed.
- Silos in customer service are being broken down: A comprehensive view of the customer and thus good support, including in the case of complaints, will only be possible if customer teams exchange appropriate data with each other. At the same time, this means that teams acting in isolation from one another are no longer in keeping with the times – and CX teams and customer service are increasingly merging.
And what’s the point?
If you want to read the report again in detail, you can do so on Zendesk’s landing page. Our colleagues at Influencermarketinghub have already written about the benefits of an immersive customer experience. They count, for example, improved conversion rates, increased purchase decisions and reduced returns, as well as higher customer loyalty among the benefits of consistently implementing the previously described developments.